What is herbal practice?
Herbal practice involves using a plant, or part of a plant, for its health benefits.
Herbal practice has been used since ancient times, originating in several traditional cultures, such as in Chinese herbal practice and Indigenous Australian herbal practice. They are still used worldwide to this day.2
How do herbal products work?
Herbs contain a certain level of biological activity in their naturally occurring chemicals.
Even though they are herbs, they can still have activity in the body and can therefore interact with some medicines. You should consult your doctor or pharmacist before using a herbal product to determine if it is suitable for you.2
History of ivy leaf
Ivy had a great deal of significance in ancient times; it was a symbol of fidelity in ancient Greece and was associated with the Roman god of revelry and good times.3
Traditional herbalists used ivy berries against the plague, and ivy leaves boiled in vinegar were used for stomach upsets.4 These methods are of course no longer used – in the present day, you can find ivy leaf as an ingredient in naturally derived products at your local pharmacy.
How does ivy leaf work?
Ivy leaf has been found to contain 5-8% saponins (a chemical compound) and a low content of emetine (an alkaloid) – combined, these support helping thin, loosen and clear mucus from the chest.4
Properties of ivy leaf1
The saponins in ivy leaf can help support the clearing of airways of mucus by helping to support:
- Thinning the consistency of mucus in your airways
- Loosening the mucus from your chest
- Clear mucus by making it easier to expel
Safety of ivy leaf
Ivy leaf extract has been shown to also be well tolerated, with 97% of doctors and patients in a study rating its tolerability as either ‘very good’ or ‘good’.6 Another study found that there was “considerable evidence for the safety of hedera helix” (ivy leaf).5
How to use ivy leaf
Ivy leaf can be found in naturally derived products available in pharmacies and some supermarkets – ask your local pharmacist for more information.